Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday lashed out at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan by accusing the Marxist veteran of ‘conspiring’ to hurt him physically.
Khan’s scathing accusation came after his vehicle was allegedly hit by activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the CPI(M), while he was on his way to the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to leave for Delhi.
A visibly furious Governor got out of his car and told the media that it was CM Vijayan who ‘conspired’ to send people to hurt him physically.
“Is it possible that if a CM programme is going on, cars with protesters will be allowed there? Will they (police) allow anybody to come near the car of the CM? Here cars of the protesters were standing there and police pushed them into their cars and they ran away.
“So, it is the CM, I am saying it clearly, who is conspiring and sending these people to hurt me physically. The ‘goondas’ have taken charge of the roads of Thiruvananthapuram,” Khan alleged.
He further contended that if the CM disagrees with him on something, that does not mean the Marxist veteran should “hatch conspiracies” to hurt him physically.
Khan also claimed that the constitutional machinery appeared to be collapsing in the state.
He told reporters that the protesters not only waved black flags at him, they also hit his vehicle from both sides.
“Then I got down from my car. Then why did they run away? They were all sitting in a car, which means the police knew. But what will the poor police do when the CM is directing them?” Khan said.
According to a Raj Bhavan source, black flags were waved at Khan at three places and out of them at two his car was hit by the protesters.
Police, on the other hand, said that the Governor’s vehicle was blocked by the SFI activists only at one place and seven people of the student outfit have been arrested.
In the other two incidents, only black flags were waved and in connection with that around 10-12 SFI activists have been taken into custody.
Cases under the relevant provisions of the IPC are being registered against them.
Meanwhile, the Congress, the UDF opposition led by it and the BJP too accused CM Vijayan of being behind the alleged attack on the Governor.
They also alleged a breakdown of law and order in the state.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan said such allegations against a CM was a first in the history of the state and questioned whether attempt to murder cases would be registered against the SFI activists who blocked the Governor’s vehicle.
Satheesan also took a dig at the CM by asking who should “rescue” the SFI activists who jumped in front of the Governor’s vehicle and waved black flags at him.
Vijayan has been repeatedly stating that the Youth Congress and Kerala Student Union (KSU) activists, who had allegedly jumped in front of the bus in which he and his cabinet were travelling, were “rescued” by DYFI and CPI(M) workers by forcibly pushing them out of the way.
The CM’s “rescue” remark had first come after Youth Congress and KSU activists were allegedly beaten up by DYFI and CPI(M) workers for waving black flags at his cavalcade in Kannur.
He has subsequently reiterated it several times.
Satheesan also accused the CM of having ‘double standards’.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief and MP K Sudhakaran said it was a “black day” for the state and that the law and order has broken down as the Governor was allegedly “attacked” in the middle of the road.
He alleged that the SFI’s actions were with the knowledge of the CM.
The KPCC chief further alleged that the police team accompanying the Governor “rescued and released” the SFI activists instead of protecting Khan.
He sought immediate and strict action against the police officers allegedly involved in it.
Sudhakaran also called the protesting SFI activists as ‘chavers’ or suicide squads, a term that was used by the Left front for the Youth Congress and KSU workers who waved black flags at the CM.
BJP state chief K Surendran too spoke along similar lines when he said the alleged “attack” on the Governor was with the CM’s knowledge.
He alleged that the CPI(M) was aggrieved by the recent Supreme Court verdict quashing re-appointment of the Kannur University VC and berating the state government for its interference.
So, the Left party resorted to the “primitive” move of “attacking” the Governor, Surendran alleged.
He further claimed that the incident occurred with the connivance of the police which indicates a breakdown of law and order in the state and added that BJP cannot stand by and watch the Governor getting “attacked”.
This is the second consecutive day when SFI activists waved black flags at the Governor.
The black flags were waved at the Governor near Vazhuthacaud in the state capital when Khan was on his way to an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry on Sunday.
Eighteen activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI) were arrested in connection with that incident.